October 2009 Archives
Machinarium is a new graphically and aurally wonderful indie adventure game for Windows and Mac, available soon. Actually it was available for purchase with a live demo and wallpaper downloads not that long ago—I already purchased my copy—but it looks like they're rebuilding the site, hopefully to handle more traffic. I'm playing through it with my kids and we're loving it.
Everything but the Game: Behind the Sketchpad of Amanita's point and click Machinarium has sketchbook scans from the designer.
Makebelieve Help, Old Butchers, and Figuring Out Who You Are (For Now), Merlin Mann. Long and rambly, but some of the most brilliant I've seen from Mr. Mann. If he can condense it after a bit more consideration and get it into his book, he'll really have something. (Watch both videos.)
The Barnes & Noble e-book reader, Nook, can view ePub, eReader and PDF, can read MicroSD cards, has a little color touch panel instead of a keyboard as well as an e-ink reading surface, has complimentary 3G cellular network access (AT&T) and Wi-Fi, and costs $259. It supposedly runs the Android operating system, though I suspect that doesn't have any implications for end users or even hackers (much like the Kindle runs Linux). Also a neat (but closed system) "lending" feature to share with others that have a Nook reader or free computer software that runs on Windows, Mac or iPhone.
The catch? Barnes & Noble's e-book store sucks. Pretty much all of the books I've seen available for the Kindle that I'd want to read aren't in B&N's store at all. Their browsable catalog is missing entire categories available on the Kindle. I presume I could try to find ePub/eReader versions of those titles from other stores, but that throws me back to the pre-Kindle state of the e-book universe, where e-books were hard to find, buy and manage. They have to nail the store, or it's useless. Amazon got this right, and will continue to lead even with a proprietary feature-weak format because of it.
My upcoming book will supposedly be available in several e-book formats, including ePub. But from the looks of B&N's store today, I'm doubting it'll be obvious how to buy a Nook-compatible version. Here's hoping.
I'd be excited about the PDF support, but a PDF on a small screen means you'll be scaling or sliding the display around to view a page, not walking through the text like with e-book formats. The $500 mega-Kindle supports PDFs and that makes sense because you could easily read a full PDF "page" on the screen. It's gratifying that I can easily copy my own text to the Nook for reading (unlike the Kindle), but I don't have high hopes that it'll be useful—unless it can also do HTML or plaintext.
Nothing on the site about a web browser, either, nor Wikipedia. Out by November according to a press release, though of course it doesn't say that on their website.
Kottke linked one of my favorite things from my childhood, and I don't think I've seen it since: Sesame Street: Geometry of Circles, music by Philip Glass.